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Article: Twins Upper Level Talent

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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 11:34 PM

You can view the page at http://www.twinsdail...er-Level-Talent

#2 Shane Wahl

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:00 AM

Yeah, I agree that it is a terrible assessment to claim that there is no talent at the upper levels. It's as though people are thinking of the organization at the beginning of 2011 or something, when that was clearly true. By the way, if for some reason the Twins keep Dozier down at New Britain at the beginning of the year, and Hicks and Morales are promoted, doesn't a lineup of Hicks, Herrmann, Dozier, Morales, and Bigley look pretty good for the first part of the year?

#3 TwinsGuy55422

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 01:10 AM

I agree. Just because most of our top prospects are in the lower levels of the minors, doesn't we don't have talent at the upper levels. Plus, you never know when a prospect that is projected to have a lower ceiling may step up and surprise us. That is part of the beauty of this game.
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#4 Apostle43

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 01:16 AM

Here's hoping the Twins stay healthy this year so that we, in Rochester, can enjoy watching these prospects develop. Rushing these youngsters to the Big Leagues does no one any good.

#5 Thrylos

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:31 AM

There is talent in the Twins' organization, but my major objection on the way that the Twins are dealing with AAA (to please Rochester among other things is that they sign a whole bunch of never-had beens and throw them there that keeps Twins' prospect talent in New Britain and Fort Myers.) I do get the point to target 3-4 good veterans in their 20s (from the 2010 season heap pile Aaron Bates and Ray Chang fit the bill.) But getting the likes of 30yo+ players in Rochester while repressing Twins' prospect talent development does not make much sense. Given they did better this season. Hughes will enter his age 27 season, Plouffe his age 26. I think that they were not "rushed" by any means. It is just that the Twins have this way of developing talent slower than most teams. The heap-pile signings I refered to previously contribute big time to that because there is the domino effect.

#6 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:43 AM

I generally agree, Thrylos, but I can't say I have disagreed with some of the minor league signings. Last year, it made a ton of sense to sign Jeff Bailey because Parmelee wasn't ready for AAA yet. Chase Lambin made sense. those two were veterans with a ton of experience who filled a need in Rochester. Adding the likes of Chuck James and Phil Dumatrait don't hurt because they didn't hold any prospects back. They needed someone like Andy Baldwin to eat some of the starts and innings because they didnt have prospect starters pushign their way to AAA. The exception was Liam Hendriks, but having the veterans in Rochester didn't keep them from promoting a real prospect like that. I like a lot of this year's minor league free agents. With Parmelee now at 1B, I think adding Bates was fine based on last year, but adding Steve Pearce was a bit much. I really like Ray Chang as a utility infielder. Burroughs was a nice signing. There are a ton of bullpen arms that they added and some starters, but based on what I've seen in the past, if guys are ready for AAA, they go to AAA. Not all of those minor league pitchers will be in the organization in a month.

#7 2wins87

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 08:56 AM

I like the Twins farm system, I think it is deep, there are a lot of players that could develop into something good, I wish we had one or two guys that legitimately profiled as #1 starters (let's not kid ourselves, having guys we hope could be #1s isn't the same thing as having guys we believe will be #1s), but overall it's a strong enough system to suit most of the Twins needs. Still, I understand the claim. Sano could be an All-star, I certainly think Rosario could be. But most people aren't holding their breath for Benson, Arcia, Hendriks and Gibson. Benson and Arcia are both great prospects that are close to the majors but both have the same big hole in their game: strikeouts. Gibson and Hendriks are both proven pitchers but lack the stuff to truly be great. So the Twins don't have anyone in the upper levels right now that looks ready to step up and become a star right now. There's no one that will force the Twins to make room for them. I think that's ok. Those kind of guys don't come around all that often, and it's hard to find guys that have everything together and will move through the system quickly when you are drafting 20th or later every year. So I don't think the Twins do have that star in the upper levels of their system, but neither do a lot of other teams, and I like our depth and the prospects that we do have. Maybe when you hear it you think people are dissing all of the prospects in the upper levels. I don't really see it that way. The Twins have a bunch of guys that are ready to fill holes soon, and could develop into starters, but not that guy who everyone thinks will be an all star. If the Twins had that guy their farm system would probably be ranked in the top 5 or so. As it is, most people rank the system above average, and cite the lack of a future all star waiting in the wings as really the one area that's missing.

#8 Shane Wahl

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 09:23 AM

I agree with the general comments here about the Twins and how they have seemed to treat Rochester. There was a study by someone at Baseball Prospectus last year about this (and Gleeman wrote about it). The Twins give something like 200 more plate appearances for their position players than the second team on the list. That seems a bit excessive. And for pitchers, I think they were right near the top in innings pitched. I think this can often hamper players some. Span was foundering in the minors. Steve Singleton and Steve Tolleson are two other examples, at a problematic position. Garrett Jones maybe as well. Dustin Martin? Not that those guys were going to be stars otherwise, but I do think that getting stuck behind the Toby Gardenhires of the world can be a problem. Last year's signings made sense, but some of them this year seem excessive. Is Dozier actually going to start at New Britain? How are *both* Drew Butera and Rene Rivera in this organization when Danny Lehmann and esp. Chris Herrmann might actually be productive catchers? Is Steve Pearce there just in case a total disaster happens and both Parmelee and Bates have to be up with the Twins? Mastroianni *and* Wilkin Ramirez? Joe Benson isn't going to New Britain as well, right?

#9 Thrylos

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 09:27 AM

Seth, last season I'd rather seen Steve Hirschfeld, Bobby Lanigan, Tyler Robertson (all repeat performers at AA last season, btw) than Eric Hacker, Thomas (not Scott) Diamond, Yorman Bazardo and Andrew Baldwin, for example. Position players are a different story, but as soon as they signed Bates, Baily should have been cut. Toby was around way too much and if his last name were anything but Gardenhire, he wouldn't had been around...
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#10 twinswon1991

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 10:49 AM

The problem is the Twins philosphy. They never sign power hitters or pitchers because these players dont fit Gardy's way of thinking. Without power pitchers you will never win a playoff series which the Twins have proved correct. I hope they change their thinking soon. The only reason we were able to sign the power bat Sano is because other teams know he is 4 years older than he claims and the Twins failed to do their homework. A player of Sano's age should be in AAA not ETown.

#11 jmlease1

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 11:08 AM

Seems to me the reason the twins get poked as not having "upper-level talent" is because the standard they're being judged against is having a no-doubt impact hitter or pitcher that's effectively one promotion away from being a ROY candidate. Which is an absurd standard. How many teams are really there? And how many of those "sure-fire" guys end up busting out anyways? The Twins have a number of guys that are close to competing for MLB jobs. There are several that project as starters, others as bench guys. None of them project as all-stars, but I wouldn't be surprised if one of them emerged that way. (Parmelee's fall stint with the club is probably a result of small sample sizes, expanded rosters, and meaningless fall games...but it might not be! He might be an impact bat and big-time hitter. I look forward to finding out, just hope it's not because Morneau's career comes to a end)

#12 Thrylos

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 11:24 AM

The problem is the Twins philosphy. They never sign power hitters or pitchers because these players dont fit Gardy's way of thinking.


I do have problems with the Twins' philosophy is general, but to tell the honest true, twice they drafted the highest power rated prospect in the draft (Parmelee, Travis Harrison) and after Bill Smith took over, they have been drafting power arms as well... Just they are not many power arms and bats in the prospect pool before the draft and those guys usually go on the top 10-15 picks... Even is Sano is 25, he is still the best power prospect in the minors. Age does not make his bat less powerful.
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#13 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 11:30 AM

Thrylos - Robertson was bad as a starter in 2010 in New Britain and was moved to the bullpen after that season. His second half last year was terrific and a direct result of staying at the level. Look at Lanigan's 2011 numbers. Are you sure he should have been in AAA? I'm not saying those AAA starters were good, but there are times when you can't push the prospects and have to get a minior league free agent instead. shanewahl - Span was floundering in the minors... how does that indicate he needed to move up? I agree with you on Tolleson and especially Singleton. Garrett Jones plays RF, 1B and DH... at the time, the Twins had Cuddyer, Morneau and Kubel at those positions. I like Wilkin Ramirez. Two years ago, he was a top 5-6 Tigers prospect. he's got talent. he's a good guy to take a chance with. I don't get the Mastroianni thing either. I like Herrmann as much as anyone, but I definitely think another half-season of AA would be best for him. 200 at bats is like 2 months or a little less. jmlease - that's my point... lots of sure-thing guys bust, and if the Twins, in fact, have 4-5 guys who should be big league starters who will start the season in AAA, that's not a bad thing at all... that was really my point.

#14 whydidnt

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:10 PM

I think Seth points out the Twins have some players in the upper levels of the minors that are potential Major Leaguers, and I agree with that. However, I think it's also safe to say that it doesn't look like there are any true impact players in the bunch listed. Most, if not all of these guys appear to be role players, instead of first division starters. I think if you compare the Twins at this level, you will find they are in the lower half of the league. However, the good news is that the White Sox and Indians upper levels are even more barren, so at least as far as the Central goes the Twins are probably middle of the road. The years of high draft picks for the Royals is finally producing, and it looks like the Tigers may have a couple of pretty decent pitchers about ready. It was good to see the Twins breaking from the recent past in the 2011 draft, by taking some guys with different skills than they traditionally have early. Now it's all about whether those players reach potential and if the Twins staff can build on their strengths instead of trying to make every guy hit or pitch, exactly the same way.

#15 whydidnt

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:16 PM

jmlease - that's my point... lots of sure-thing guys bust, and if the Twins, in fact, have 4-5 guys who should be big league starters who will start the season in AAA, that's not a bad thing at all... that was really my point.

I think this is a really good point. But we all have to realize that just being a big league starter doesn't mean the player is a top talent, or even impact player. How many of these guys would be considered potential starters for the Phillies, Tigers, Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Brewers, etc, or any of the other first division teams? Maybe Benson, based upon his athletic ability, but that's probably it, and he wouldn't be considered a potential starter until 2013 at the earliest.

#16 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 12:43 PM

I get what you're saying, but to be honest, I don't care if they would start for those other teams. The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are the only teams that may be able to afford getting stars at all positions. Any team with a payroll south of $140 million is going to have a few players making league minimum. Playoff and winning teams will need some stars too, and that gets back to the discussion about how the Twins really need to get health and performance from Mauer, Morneau, Span, Liriano and Baker... those are the impact players. I guess my other point is that sometimes these guys that are considered 2nd or 3rd tier prospects by the experts come in and perform very well, above expectations, for 3-5 years when they are most valuable to their teams.

#17 twinkiesfan11

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 01:08 PM

I get what you're saying, but to be honest, I don't care if they would start for those other teams. The Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies are the only teams that may be able to afford getting stars at all positions. Any team with a payroll south of $140 million is going to have a few players making league minimum. Playoff and winning teams will need some stars too, and that gets back to the discussion about how the Twins really need to get health and performance from Mauer, Morneau, Span, Liriano and Baker... those are the impact players. I guess my other point is that sometimes these guys that are considered 2nd or 3rd tier prospects by the experts come in and perform very well, above expectations, for 3-5 years when they are most valuable to their teams.


Sure, the 2nd or 3rd tier prospects come in and perform as you would expect a 2nd or 3rd tier player to perform...league average. How many more role players and middle relievers does this team need? I for one don't feel the problem is a lack of talent in the upper minors, it's the lack of impact/first division regular type talent. Right now Sano is the only consensus impact talent in the entire system, the next closest group (Benson, Arcia, Rosario) are more popular with some scouts/publications than others and are probably overvalued by Twins fans and bloggers.

#18 Fanatic Jack

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 02:57 PM

Seth,

There is huge difference between Impact players and Role players on a roster. The Twins have a lot of talent in New Britain and Rochester but only a few of them are impact players. Let’s look at the following players;

1. Chris Parmelee- He will be a future impact player if he continues to develop in Rochester.

2. Brian Dozier- It’s uncertain what role Dozier will play with the Twins in the future. Some view him as a utility player and others view him as the starting SS. Time will tell but he could be an impact player.

3. Joe Benson- He has all the tools to be a superstar player. However, he has taken a little longer to develop and at times looks overmatched. He strikesout way too much and does not make enough contact. I’m leaning towards Benson being a role player.

4. Kyle Gibson- Nobody knows how he will recover from T.J. surgery. He won’t be ready until 2013 and might be a #3 pitcher in the starting rotation. Clearly he is role player.

5. Liam Hendriks- He appears to be a pretty solid middle of the rotation starter (#3 or #4). Might improve some more at Rochester and surprise some people. He is a role player.

6. Rene Tosoni- He has good opposite field power but clearly is not a starting outfielder. There also is no room for him unless somebody is traded. A 4th outfielder at best for Twins and another role player.

7. Aaron Hicks- He is still young and talented enough to put it all together and become the next Torii Hunter. However, he has been very inconsistent over the last two years and his stock has fallen. I believe he will produce if he can make it to the majors. Right now that is a big IF.

8. Luke Hughes- He has good power and plays decent defense at 2B (His best position). Does not appear to be a everyday player because he gets injured too often. He will make the team as a bench/role player.

9. Alex Wimmers- Struggled with control problems but came back strong towards the end of last year. Not sure if he will become stagnant or continue to move through the system. Projects to be a #3 or #4 pitcher and that’sbeing optimistic. A role player.

10. Carlos Gutierrez- He has all the talent to be a real good big league reliever. He struggles with his control sometimes on the mound and it snowballs into big innings. Could be a dominant force in the 7thor 8th inning if he can make adjustments. A role player.

Edited by Fanatic Jack, 08 March 2012 - 03:11 PM.


#19 Fanatic Jack

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 03:56 PM

The Twins have a decent minor league system but let's be honest, it's not the Tampa Bay Rays.

Edited by Fanatic Jack, 08 March 2012 - 04:01 PM.


#20 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:06 PM

Fair enough... but I think we all know that there is a difference between an Impact player and a role player... individual definitions of each are dependent upon each person's opinion. I guess I would have to add another option in between those two. In my mind, a guy like Dozier may not be an Impact player if defined as a multi-time All-Star. But if a guy becomes a guy who plays 140 games a year for 3-6 years, that's certainly more than just a role player. I also don't believe that a #3 starter is a "role" player either. He may not be a Cy Young candidate and make that big of an impact, but to a 25 man roster, the number 3 starter is certainly more than just a role player. In my prospect rankings, I generally don't rank relievers very high, but if you Carlos Gutierrez becomes "a dominant force in the 7th or 8th inning", that's a very important role. If Rene Tosoni is a platoon starter or a bench bat, that's a role player, for sure. My point wasn't to say that the Twins have a lot of guys who will be Hall of Famers in the upper levels, but they have 5-6 guys who could contribute in a big way (as a starter in the lineup, as a starting in the rotation, or a key component in the bullpen) and several others who can fill roles. The cupboard is far from bare.

#21 Seth Stohs

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:16 PM

The Twins have a decent minor league system but let's be honest, it's not the Tampa Bay Rays.



I'm pretty sure no one is claiming that it is... although, once Matt Moore loses his "prospect eligibility," I don't know that there is much difference.

#22 Fanatic Jack

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:24 PM

Seth, I don't disagree at all with your above statement. Our best prospects are at Beloit this year and we have five draft picks in the top 75 to replenish the farm system. Who do you think we will select with #2 overall pick now that Giolito is hurt? I was realy hoping for a #1 Ace pitcher but that seems highly unlikely now.

Edited by Fanatic Jack, 08 March 2012 - 04:28 PM.


#23 cr9617

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 04:56 PM

Seth--it seems you are going way out of your way to find a positive spin on the current state of the Twins minor league system. Why is it so hard to accept that the Twins have below average talent in the upper levels of their minor league system? You don't have to be a genius to figure that out. It's pretty obvious. Sure, a few will make it to the Bigs and make a contribution. Although, most will be utility, part timers, bullpen guys, or below average starters. This team looks like it's heading for steady decline in the next few years, and the current lack of impact type prospects is the main reason for that. I'm not a fan of the current rotation, but just think how bad it will be in the next year or two. Absolutely no impact starters anywhere on the horizon.....

#24 whydidnt

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 05:54 PM

I'm not a fan of the current rotation, but just think how bad it will be in the next year or two. Absolutely no impact starters anywhere on the horizon.....

Well, I think Gibson still can have impact in the next couple years, and I wouldn't be surprised if Wimmers becomes a nice option as well.

Back to the main topic, my earlier point still remains. Teams that win divisions, and titles, don't do it with lineups consisting of the players like the Twins currently have in the upper level of the minors. There may be guys who are ML starters, but they are guys who are going to be starters on second division teams. You win with impact players and the Twins are sadly short on those guys in the upper levels of the minors. For a team that is supposed to be built from within, it's a sad statement, especially when you see that they also haven't graduated any impact players in the last couple years. It's far too long a drought for a team that is supposed to rely heavily on home grown players. Terry Ryan is primarily responsible for the lack of talent at these levels as he was in charge or "advising" over all the recent drafts. That's one reason I was never as excited about his return as most. I think he's an upgrade over Smith, but the recent results don't scream huge success as far as evaluating and elevating amateur talent.

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Posted 08 March 2012 - 09:55 PM

I get what you're saying, but to be honest, I don't care if they would start for those other teams.


I care. Shouldn't the goal be to have better players than other teams? Isn't that how you win? Don't we want the Twins to win?

Collecting players not good enough to play for anyone else doesn't seem like a good strategy to me.

#26 Fanatic Jack

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 07:53 AM

The reality of the situation is you just don't know what is going to happen. The Twins drafted Hunter, Koskie, Jones, Mienkiewicz, Pierzynski, Span, Mauer, and Morneau and they all turned into impact players. The hope is they will catch lightening in the bottle again with Gibson, Wimmers, Benson, Parmelee, Hicks, Dozier, Michael, and Sano. I believe what hurt the farm system is missing on so many number one picks. The Twins have five draft picks this year in the top 75 so they have to get some impact players and not screw it up.

#27 jmlease1

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 09:44 AM

Fair enough... but I think we all know that there is a difference between an Impact player and a role player... individual definitions of each are dependent upon each person's opinion. I guess I would have to add another option in between those two. In my mind, a guy like Dozier may not be an Impact player if defined as a multi-time All-Star. But if a guy becomes a guy who plays 140 games a year for 3-6 years, that's certainly more than just a role player. I also don't believe that a #3 starter is a "role" player either. He may not be a Cy Young candidate and make that big of an impact, but to a 25 man roster, the number 3 starter is certainly more than just a role player. In my prospect rankings, I generally don't rank relievers very high, but if you Carlos Gutierrez becomes "a dominant force in the 7th or 8th inning", that's a very important role. If Rene Tosoni is a platoon starter or a bench bat, that's a role player, for sure.

My point wasn't to say that the Twins have a lot of guys who will be Hall of Famers in the upper levels, but they have 5-6 guys who could contribute in a big way (as a starter in the lineup, as a starting in the rotation, or a key component in the bullpen) and several others who can fill roles. The cupboard is far from bare.


ITA with this. Look at how hard it's been for the Twins to fill the SS position. If Dozier becomes an average MLB starting SS for 4-6 seasons with the club, he won't be considered an "impact" player by some, but it'd be a huge win for the franchise not having to search for a SS every season and enduring the many failures we've had over the years.

And a #3 or #4 starter is an impact player too. Teams are always looking for starting pitching, and continuing to develop quality MLB starters is also very good. Filling that #3/4 hole and not overpaying on a replacement-level free agent? Also a big win.

I think I look at "impact" players differently than a lot of the so-called experts; my thoughts are much more like Seth's. Impact players in the upper-levels to me are guys who can come up and fill in when someone gets an injury and not drag the club down. They're guys who have the potential to be starters in MLB for several years. They don't have to just be all-stars in the making to be serious impact players for me. And the twins have a number of guys in AA & AAA that meet that definition.

People always want to have the Next Big Star one promotion away. But that doesn't happen too often. Hopefully the guy the Twins get with the #2 pick in the draft will be one of those players, but even if it doesn't happen I don't think the cupboard is bare and I think the twins can continue to look to their minor league system first when trying to fill holes in the starting lineup.

#28 mike wants wins

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 11:59 AM

Lots of straw man arguments here made against those of us saying that the talent isn't there (and wasn't last year or hte year before, either....that's the problem). No one in this thread is insisting that the Twins have ROY of the year candidates just waiting to be called up. No on is saying a lot of what defenders of they system is claimin we are saying. I am saying that if you won't sign or trade for FAs or other players making a lot of money, then you need to be better at drafting and developing players than other teams. The Twins have not had a real, legit starting player come up in three years. Valencia might or might not be one, but that's it. In three years. Not asking for ROY, not asking for allstars. Asking for legit starting MLB players more often than maybe 1 every three years is not unreasonable, imo.

#29 Fanatic Jack

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 12:43 PM

Mike wants wins, I totally agree with you!! This is where GM Terry Ryan being in charge again will really help out. The upcoming draft is a very important one for the Twins in June.

#30 whydidnt

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 03:07 PM


This is where GM Terry Ryan being in charge again will really help out.


I don't see how you can make that claim, Ryan has been heavily involved in the Twins draft and player development for the last several years. Unless you think Ryan is an improvement on Ryan, this just doesn't make sense to me.